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Impeachment Today Podcast: Impeachment? Not Today.

In today's episode: Donald Trump does not get impeached.

Posted on February 6, 2020, at 7:49 p.m. ET

BuzzFeed News

We're 135 days into the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Every morning, the Impeachment Today podcast helps you separate what’s real and groundbreaking from what’s just, well, bullshit.

You can listen to today's episode below, or check it out on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


It's Thursday, February 6th, 2020. 135 days since the House of Representatives opened its impeachment inquiry, and this is Impeachment Today.

Good morning, I'm Hayes Brown, reporter and editor at BuzzFeed News. And the Senate has spoken. The president has been acquitted in their eyes of the charges the house brought before them. So that's cool. Okay. Let's get right into it and go through what the hell just happened.

You'd think that in a trial where the outcome was pretty much predicted a long time ago, there'd be no room for drama. You'd also be wrong. Thanks to a man who is known for his flair for the dramatic, Mitt Romney. No, really. Romney took the floor of the Senate on Wednesday afternoon, just a few hours before the scheduled vote on the two articles of impeachment. He was one of just two Republicans who had previously voted in favor of having new witnesses during the trial, and in his 10 minute speech, he announced that in his view, yeah, the president is guilty.

Mitt Romney:

The grave question the constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did. The president asked a foreign government to investigate his political rival. The president withheld vital military funds from that government to press it to do so. The president delayed funds for an American ally at war with Russian invaders. The president's purpose was personal and political. Accordingly, the president is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust.

What he did was not perfect. No, it was a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine.

Hayes Brown:

In his speech, Romney dismantled most of the arguments the present defense had made during the trial, and his speech overall was surprisingly powerful, citing his oath before God at the start of the trial as part of how he had come to his conclusion.

Romney's announcement meant that there would be only one party defection during the vote. Democratic Sanders, Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, and Doug Jones all announced on Wednesday that they would be voting to convict the president on both counts. So as 4:00 PM rolled around, the impeachment trial reconvened. Chief Justice John Roberts took over as the presiding officer one more time and then the moment of truth.

John Roberts:

Each senator when his or her name is called will stand in his or her place and vote guilty or not guilty as required by rule 23 of the Senate rules on impeachment. Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 of the constitution regarding the vote required for conviction on impeachment provides that no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present. The question is on the first article of impeachment, senators how say you is the respondent, Donald John Trump, guilty or not guilty.

Hayes Brown:

In the end, on the charge of abusing his power to get Ukraine to interfere in the next election, the Senate found the president not guilty of abuse of power by a vote of 48 voting guilty to 52 voting not guilty. Minutes later they voted 47 to 53 to acquit the president on the charge of obstruction of Congress.

Hayes Brown:

And then we had the end credits of the impeachment trial, which was totally surreal. Both the majority and minority leader in the Senate thanked the staffers and Capitol police, yada, yada. Senator majority leader Mitch McConnell seemed particularly buoyant after engineering this result, passing on something called the golden gavel to the chief justice. Oh, you think I'm joking.

Mitch McConnell:

Like his predecessor, Chief Justice Rehnquist, the Senate will be awarding Chief Justice Roberts the golden gavel. To commemorate his time presiding over this body we typically award this to new senators after about a hundred hours in the chair, but I think we can agree the chief justice has put in his due and then some.

Hayes Brown:

Romney by the way, became the first Senator to vote for the removal of a president in his own party in history. For that grave sin, Romney had noted in his speech that he was braced to receive a ton of backlash from the president and from the rest of his party.

Hayes Brown:

Now right around the time Romney was speaking, President Trump was scheduled to have a press conference with Juan Guido, the lawmaker, who the US and his Latin American ally say is the real president of Venezuela. But minutes before it was set to begin, the event was canceled.

Hayes Brown:

We didn't have to wait too much longer though for President Trump's reaction. Last night he tweeted out an absolute bonkerballs video/attack ad that said Romney is a secret democratic double agent.

Trump TV ad:

Slick, slippery stealthy. Mitt Romney had us fooled.

Romney: Being in a Donald Trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight.

Posing as a Republican, he tried to infiltrate Trump's administration as Secretary of State.

Romney: A person like Trump is the very man who can lead us to that better future.

Now, his cover’s blown, exposed by news reports as a Democrat secret asset.

Hayes Brown:

Ish. Meanwhile, the White House issued a statement that said, "The sham impeachment attempt concocted by Democrats ended in the full vindication and exoneration of President Donald J. Trump," and Trump tweeted that he's going to give a statement at noon today to "Discuss our Country's VICTORY on the impeachment hoax." Joy.

Senator Susan Collins had said the other day that she had believed that Trump had learned his lesson from this whole affair. Clearly that's working out. But despite the claims of full vindication, just because the trial is over, doesn't mean that everything we've learned over the last few months just goes away. There's talk in the house about issuing a subpoena to former national security advisor, John Bolton, to finally learn what he knows, at least before his book comes out.

And ahead of the vote, CNN put out a story saying that it had reviewed a new set of Pentagon emails from last summer, and they made even clear than ever that the Pentagon was freaking out man over Trump's order to hold millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine. This despite the White House still insisting that the hold was just part of a totally normal policy review.

The mind absolutely reels about how much more we're going to learn in the months between now and the election. And now because we are still contractually obligated, we have today's reading from art our Nixometer.

On our scale a zero is a normal day in a normal White House, and 10 is President Richard Milhous Nixon resigning and flying away in Marine One. And this morning we're at a 4.5. There's a lot of questions still out there. Members of the president's own party have said that he was in the wrong, even as he is already trying to fundraise off of the acquittal, still insisting that his call was perfect. So normal? Nah. But the president is not getting on that helicopter anytime soon.

After the break, we take stock of this moment in history. Be right back.

Welcome back. All right, it is time for this fucking guy. Now, as I've been saying this week, this here is our penultimate episode. We've got one more episode taking a look at where we as a country go from here with a fantastic guest set up for you tomorrow. And we are hard at work, trying to figure out what's coming next for us here at the show now that this show is wrapping. So keep an eye ... ear out for an announcement about that in the near future.

As for today, well, we could replay for you our interview with the Atlantic's McKay Coppins about Mitt Romney, but instead I wanted to put this moment into the record. What you're about to hear is the full audio of all 100 members of the Senate casting their votes on the first article of impeachment. It's about eight minutes long, but the weight of how each of those senators cast their votes will last for much longer.

Representative Adam Schiff said during the trial that their names would be tied with cords of steel to Donald Trump's throughout history, much as those who supported Nixon during Watergate had been linked to his. So here they all are, these fucking guys.

A roll call vote is required. The clerk will call the roll.

Mr. Alexander.

Not guilty.

Mr. Alexander, not guilty.

Ms. Baldwin.

Guilty.

Ms. Baldwin, guilty.

Mr. Barrasso.

Not guilty.

Mr. Barrasso, not guilty.

Mr. Bennett.

Guilty.

Mr. Bennett, guilty.

Mrs. Blackburn.

Not guilty.

Mrs. Blackburn, not guilty.

Mr. Blumenthal.

Guilty.

Mr. Blumenthal, guilty.

Mr. Blunt.

Not guilty.

Mr. Blunt, not guilty.

Mr. Booker.

Guilty.

Mr. Booker, guilty.

Mr. Boozeman.

Not guilty.

Mr. Boozeman, not guilty.

Mr. Brown.

Not guilty.

Mr. Brown, not guilty.

Mr. Braun.

Guilty.

Mr. Braun, guilty.

Mr. Burr.

Not guilty.

Mr. Burr, not guilty.

Ms. Cantwell.

Guilty.

Ms. Cantwell, guilty.

Mrs. Capito.

Not guilty.

Mrs. Capito, not guilty.

Mr. Cardin.

Guilty.

Mr. Cardin, guilty.

Mr. Carper.

Guilty.

Mr. Carper, guilty.

Mr. Casey.

Guilty.

Mr. Casey, guilty.

Mr. Cassidy.

Not guilty.

Mr. Cassidy, not guilty.

Ms. Collins.

Not guilty.

Ms. Collins, not guilty.

Mr. Coons.

Guilty.

Mr. Coons, guilty.

Mr. Cornyn.

Not guilty.

Mr. Cornyn, not guilty.

Ms. Cortez Masto.

Guilty.

Ms. Cortez Masto, guilty.

Mr. Cotton.

Not guilty.

Mr. Cotton, not guilty.

Mr. Cramer.

Not guilty.

Mr. Cramer, not guilty.

Mr. Crapo.

Not guilty.

Mr. Crapo, not guilty.

Mr. Cruz.

Not guilty.

Mr. Cruz, not guilty.

Mr. Daines.

Not guilty.

Mr. Daines, not guilty.

Ms. Duckworth.

Guilty.

Ms. Duckworth, guilty.

Mr. Durbin.

Guilty.

Mr. Durbin, guilty.

Mr. Enzi.

Not guilty.

Mr. Enzi, not guilty.

Ms Ernst.

Not guilty.

Ms. Ernst, not guilty.

Mrs. Feinstein.

Guilty.

Mrs. Feinstein, guilty.

Mrs. Fisher.

Not guilty.

Mrs. Fisher, not guilty.

Mr. Gardner.

Not guilty.

Mr. Gardner, not guilty.

Mrs. Gillibrand.

Guilty.

Mrs. Gillibrand, guilty.

Mr. Graham.

Not guilty.

Mr. Graham, not guilty.

Mr. Grassley.

Not guilty.

Mr. Grassley, not guilty.

Ms. Harris.

Guilty.

Ms. Harris, guilty.

Ms. Hassan.

Guilty.

Ms. Hassan, guilty.

Mr. Hawley.

Not guilty.

Mr. Hawley, not guilty.

Mr. Heinrich.

Guilty.

Mr. Heinrich, guilty.

Ms. Hirono.

Guilty.

Ms. Hirono, guilty.

Mr. Hoeven.

Not guilty.

Mr. Hoveven, not guilty.

Mrs. Hyde-Smith.

Not guilty.

Mrs. Hyde-Smith, not guilty.

Mr. Inhofe.

Not guilty.

Mr. Inhofe, not guilty.

Mr. Johnson.

Not guilty.

Mr. Johnson, not guilty.

Mr. Jones.

Guilty.

Mr. Jones, guilty.

Mr. Kaine.

Guilty.

Mr. Kaine, guilty.

Mr. Kennedy.

Not guilty.

Mr. Kennedy, not guilty.

Mr. King.

Guilty.

Mr. King, guilty.

Ms. Klobuchar.

Guilty.

Ms. Klobuchar, guilty.

Mr. Lankford.

Not guilty.

Mr. Lankford, not guilty.

Mr. Leahy.

Guilty.

Mr. Leahy, guilty.

Mr. Lee.

Not guilty.

Mr. Lee, not guilty.

Mrs. Loeffler.

Not guilty.

Mrs. Loeffler, not guilty.

Mr. Manchin.

Guilty.

Mr. Manchin, guilty.

Mr. Markey.

Guilty.

Mr. Markey, guilty.

Mr. McConnell.

Not guilty.

Mr. McConnell, not guilty.

Ms. McSally.

Not guilty.

Ms. McSally, not guilty.

Mr. Menendez.

Guilty.

Mr. Menendez, guilty.

Mr. Merkley.

Guilty.

Mr. Merkley, guilty.

Mr. Moran.

Not guilty.

Mr. Moran, not guilty.

Mr. Murkowski.

Not guilty.

Mr. Murkowski, not guilty.

Mr. Murphy.

Guilty.

Mr. Murphy, guilty.

Mrs. Murray.

Guilty.

Mrs. Murray, guilty.

Mr. Paul.

Not guilty.

Mr. Paul, not guilty.

Mr. Perdue.

Not guilty.

Mr. Perdue, not guilty.

Mr. Peters.

Guilty.

Mr. Peters, guilty.

Mr. Portman.

Not guilty.

Mr. Portman, not guilty.

Mr. Reed.

Guilty.

Mr. Reed, guilty.

Mr. Risch.

Not guilty.

Mr. Risch, not guilty.

Mr. Roberts.

Not guilty.

Mr. Roberts, not guilty.

Mr. Romney.

Guilty.

Mr. Romney, guilty.

Ms. Rosen.

Guilty.

Ms. Rosen, guilty.

Mr. Rounds.

Not guilty.

Mr. Rounds, not guilty.

Mr. Rubio.

Not guilty.

Mr. Rubio, not guilty.

Mr. Sanders.

Guilty.

Mr. Sanders, guilty.

Mr. Sasse.

Not guilty.

Mr. Sasse, not guilty.

Mr. Schatz.

Guilty.

Mr. Schatz, guilty.

Mr. Schumer.

Guilty.

Mr. Schumer, guilty.

Mr. Scott of Florida.

Not guilty.

Mr. Scott of Florida, not guilty.

Mr. Scott of South Carolina.

Not guilty.

Mr. Scott of South Carolina, not guilty.

Mr. Shaheen.

Guilty.

Mr. Shaheen, guilty.

Mr. Shelby.

Not guilty.

Mr. Shelby, not guilty.

Ms. Sinema.

Guilty.

Ms. Sinema, guilty.

Ms. Smith.

Guilty.

Ms. Smith, guilty.

Ms. Stabenow.

Guilty.

Ms. Stabenow, guilty.

Mr. Sullivan.

Not guilty.

Mr. Sullivan, not guilty.

Mr. Tester.

Guilty.

Mr. Tester, guilty.

Mr. Thune.

Not guilty.

Mr. Thune, not guilty.

Mr. Tillis.

Not guilty.

Mr. Tillis, not guilty.

Mr. Toomey.

Not guilty.

Mr. Toomey, not guilty.

Mr. Udall.

Guilty.

Mr. Udall, guilty.

Mr. Van Hollen.

Guilty.

Mr. Van Hollen, guilty.

Mr. Warner.

Guilty.

Mr. Warner, guilty.

Ms. Warren.

Guilty.

Ms. Warren, guilty.

Mr. Whitehouse.

Guilty.

Mr. Whitehouse, guilty.

Mr. Wicker.

Not guilty.

Mr. Wicker, not guilty.

Mr. Wyden.

Guilty.

Mr. Wyden, guilty.

Mr. Young.

Not guilty.

Mr. Young, not guilty.

Hayes Brown:

Thanks for sticking around for that. That's all we've got for you today. Tomorrow we'll have our last episode for you, a series finale that makes 20 times more sense in the end of loss, even if it leaves you feeling just as empty inside.

Thanks to all of you out there who have subscribed to Impeachment Today, be the the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you have gone to hear my disembodied voice. Leave us a rating and a review when you can, and be sure to smash that download button one more time tomorrow as we process how this has all ended together.

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